london pubs

Peculiar Pubs in Mayfair

A couple of weekends back, feeling the need to explore, and craving quaintness, we set out for Mayfair and had a small crawl around Shepherd Market.

First up, Ye Grapes. Yes, it sounds like an exclamation of pain from Nobby’s Piles, but this is a place that aims to lure in guests from nearby hotels, offering the Olde English Pub experience in a neat package. There are even moth-eaten stuffed animals on the walls. There are several solid brown bitters on offer  (London Pride, Doom Bar) plus a couple of seasonal specials.  They have their own house bitter, too, which wasn’t bad, reminding is of Harvey’s Sussex Bitter. If anyone knows any more about this beer, and wishes to embarrass us by revealing it to be rebadged Tesco Value Bitter or something, now’s your chance.

The King’s Head next door was wonderfully cosy — very dark, and with the heating on full blast. It is also one of the ‘new’ Taylor Walker branded punch pubs. Most of the beer was fine (Doombar, Tribute) but only Young’s London Gold really hit the spot.

Finally, the Market Tavern, which is a really peculiar pub. The upstairs bar looked and smelled like an authentic 1960s Soho clip joint. The ale was like flat cola, but it can’t have been helped by the fact it was topped up with some dregs from a glass sitting behind the bar, bold as brass. Classy. No number of “yummy puddings” and fancy cushions can make up for that.

All in all, this crawl was more interesting for eavesdropping on the conversations of rich young people than for the quality of beer.

3 replies on “Peculiar Pubs in Mayfair”

“Topped up with dregs from behind the bar? That’s truly horrific, I’ve never heard anything like it! urrrgggh!”

My sentiments exactly. I’d have walked out at that point. The beer would never have touched my lips.

I’ve been given beer topped up from a half-full glass behind the bar. As this was a “failing pub” I was trying to show some support for, I put up with it but obviously didn’t stay for another. Needless to say, it’s now been firmly closed for several years.

Given the overall decline of the pub trade, it is a sad reality that dodgy practices of various kinds are widespread.

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